Two postdoc positions in History and Philosophy of Physics or Science (0.8 – 1.0 FTE)

Two postdoc positions in History and Philosophy of Physics or Science (0.8 – 1.0 FTE)

Published Deadline Location
7 Jun 31 Jul Utrecht

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An exciting opportunity to be part of an ERC project on Niels Bohr, his legacy and contemporary relevance, and to collaborate with the Niels Bohr Archive.

Job description

In these Postdoc positions you will join Guido Bacciagaluppi who recently was awarded an ERC Advanced Grant for the project ‘BOHR21: Niels Bohr for the 21st Century’ (press announcement). Bohr was a central figure in the development of 20th-century physics, but his thought is difficult to understand, its reception has been fraught with misunderstandings, and its contemporary relevance is still unclear. 

You will make a major attempt to clarify Bohr’s position in the philosophical debates of his time and of today, with particular reference to the philosophy of physics, the philosophy of biology, and general philosophy of science. You will make extensive use of historical resources, especially those in the Niels Bohr Archive in Copenhagen, integrating historical and philosophical methods and insights. Among many other research questions, you will aim at clearing away the positivist cobwebs from Bohr’s image in the philosophy of physics, and investigating Bohr’s influence on organicism in theoretical biology, at exploring potential uses of Bohr’s notion of complementarity in contemporary debates in philosophy of science (e.g. on emergence and reduction).

Besides collaborating extensively with the Niels Bohr Archive, you will liaise also with the ROTO research project led by Jan Baedke at Bochum. Utrecht has a long tradition of research in the history and philosophy of physics and will concurrently host Niels Martens’ ERC Starting Grant on the philosophy of cosmology.

Moreover, you will

  • typically spend four weeks every year in Copenhagen for research in the Niels Bohr Archive;
  • co-organise seminars and colloquia in Utrecht and workshops and conferences in Utrecht and Copenhagen;
  • (co-)author a number of papers on the topics of the project and possibly a monograph or volume of proceedings, and
  • help define and co-supervise the PhD projects associated the grant: one on physics, one on biology and one on general philosophy of science (all to start in the autumn of 2024).

You are not required to teach but will be given the opportunity to do so if desired.


Utrecht University


We are looking for an enthusiastic colleague with multiple of the following:

  • a background in history or philosophy of physics, biology or in general philosophy of science. Ideally combining both philosophy and history;
  • a completed PhD in a relevant discipline, or whose supervisor attests will have submitted their PhD thesis before the starting date of the position;
  • interested in collaborative team research;
  • excellent command of the English language, and either a working knowledge of other languages relevant to the project (principally German and Danish) or the willingness to teach themselves those languages to achieve it.

Conditions of employment

  • A position for 4 or 5 years depending on size of appointment (0.8 - 1.0 FTE);
  • A full-time gross salary ranging from €3,226 to €5,090 in scale 10;
  • 8% holiday bonus and 8.3% end-of-year bonus;
  • A pension scheme, partially paid parental leave, and flexible employment conditions based on the Collective Labour Agreement Dutch Universities.

In addition, Utrecht University offers excellent secondary conditions, including an attractive retirement scheme, professional development, (partly paid) parental leave, sports and flexible employment conditions (multiple choice model). For more information, please visit working at Utrecht University.


A better future for everyone. This ambition motivates our scientists in executing their leading research and inspiring teaching. At Utrecht University, the various disciplines collaborate intensively towards major strategic themes. Our focus is on Dynamics of Youth, Institutions for Open Societies, Life Sciences and Pathways to Sustainability. Sharing science, shaping tomorrow

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At the Faculty of Science, there are 6 departments to make a fundamental connection with: Biology, Chemistry, Information and Computing Sciences, Mathematics, Pharmaceutical Sciences, and Physics. Each of these is made up of distinct institutes that work together to focus on answering some of humanity’s most pressing problems. More fundamental still are the individual research groups – the building blocks of our ambitious scientific projects. Find out more about us by watching Working at the Faculty of Science

You will be part of a vibrant and diverse community, working in a (shared) office either in the Freudenthal Institute or in the adjacent Freudenthal building. Activities involve research seminars in foundations of physics, philosophy of cosmology, and philosophy of science, as well as Freudenthal research seminars, Descartes Colloquia (in town), and a variety of physics colloquia.

The History and Philosophy of Science (HPS) group at Utrecht University is part of the Freudenthal Institute, which includes also mathematics and science education and communication. The HPS group is one of the largest of its kind in Europe, and is responsible for one of the largest HPS Master programmes in Europe. The Freudenthal Institute is part of the department of mathematics and is located in the same building as theoretical physics at the Utrecht Science Park. You will also be a member of the Descartes Centre for the History and Philosophy of the Sciences and the Humanities, an overarching platform with members from all faculties of the University. The centre funds several junior and senior visiting fellowships every year, summer schools and more.


  • Postdoc
  • Natural sciences
  • 30—40 hours per week
  • €4332—€5090 per month
  • Doctorate
  • 1211150



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